Young IMPACT members reject increments freeze call

6th December 2011

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform’s statement of 2012 Government expenditure yesterday did not target public service pay increments, despite calls from Barnardos chief executive Fergus Finlay and others.

IMPACT’s young workers committee had previously reacted to an unprecedented series of three consecutive calls for an increments freeze in Finlay’s weekly Irish Examiner column last month. Mr Finlay argued that the move would be preferable to any reduction in social welfare or child benefit.

The union’s young members’ committee response was published in the Irish Examiner’s letters page. John Collins, a young Revenue Commissioners worker in Limerick, wrote separately to the newspaper to explain how the proposal would affect lower paid public servants.

Committee member Brian Furey said: “Mr Finlay rightly argues that it’s wrong that the poorest people in Ireland should have to shoulder any more of the burden. But he then argues that the Government should do just that and place more burden on one group of workers within the public sector.”

Responding to media calls for an increment freeze, IMPACT explained to departmental officials that such a move would hurt the lowest paid, especially younger workers, while leaving top public servants untouched. That’s because those at the very top of the public service have single point pay scales and, therefore, no increments to lose.

Other more senior grades have short incremental scales of between 5-7 points, but most of them would be unaffected because they are already at the top of their scales. The lower paid, with very long scales, would be the only ones affected.

IMPACT’s young members’ committee said they supported Mr Finlay’s call for greater equality and fairness in society but said his proposal was a deeply unfair and unequal proposition.